Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Spring is a heart full of hope and a shoe full of rain. ~ unknown

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Low Point.

I'm not lost on the irony that what helped advance my photography and Photoshop skills is now what haunts me daily.

I began the 365 project, on a whim, on December 22, 2006. No important date, just an arbitrary day at the end of December. I was quickly seduced by the group pool and all the possibilities. There are so many creative people in the world and, thanks to flickr, I was introduced to a few of them.

Over the course of the 365 project, I became more and more confident. "Hey, I'm not so bad." "I look pretty good in that shot." My self-esteem was rising, not just because of the bolstering from the flickr crowd, but because I was looking at myself in a photo. Every. Day.

When the 365 was concluding, I felt torn. What the hell was I going to do with myself?! How could I not keep taking a photo of myself? I didn't stop. I kept on going until...I stopped. It got old. My portraits were just crappy, end-of-the-day, arm's length shots. I felt a little relief and a lot of failure.

For a third time, I started in up again. It didn't last very long. I had an awesome new camera, but again, the arm's length shots were the rule, not the exception. So boring.

And now, while I have no desire for another year of the pictures, I am also short of ideas. I don't know what to take photos of. Nothing is appealing to me. Most things I see, I imagine my camera in front of my face, but I don't have the gumption to actually take the photo. Things have gotten so bad, I've been leaving my camera at home. This is sad, sad news. I am in constant internal conflict. Constant.

Today I attempted to take a few self-portraits. Abby is at my mom's and I have all the time in the world (OK, a few hours) to take some shots. I took 2 and I wanted to cry. I see myself now, as a soft, saggy blob. Where did the confidence go that I had when I was doing 365 the first time? I don't want to see myself anymore, but I don't know what else to see.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In the Closet and Frustrated!

My sewing machine is in a closet in my basement. The closet is long and narrow; an odd shape for such a sewing station, especially since the door isn't the full length of the closet. This means that the sides beside my desk are kind of jumbled, hard to reach black holes of unfinished projects and yarn. For now, it does the job.
It's not finished yet. For organizational (and OCD mental health) purposes, I'd like a book case. There's room. It's such an awkward space and its disorganization needs to be remedied or I shall soon go mad! To further my decent into madness, there is that dress that I tried to draft a pattern for. In theory, I did, in fact, draft a pattern. Is it functional? I. HAVE. NO. CLUE. Why, you ask? Well, I will tell you why. It is because of the evil known as ELASTIC THREAD!!! For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to make it work. It doesn't gather for me. I've adjusted tension. I've tried to roll the bobbin at various tensions as well. I've used basting stitches. I am about to give up, which is so defeating because I really feel like this pattern could work! In the photo below, you can see the picture of the inspiration dress, and my sketches. They taunt me each time I sit in my sewing chair.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dinner & Dessert.

Lately I haven't been in a mood to cook. Just quick, simple things. The same quick and simple things over and over. And over. So boring.
I don't know why, but when I woke up yesterday, I was overcome with the desire to cook! Me & Abby headed to the store and got our supplies (minus the parsley.) So annoying! How is the grocery store totally out of parsley!? Anyhow...

We decided on this hearty lasagna recipe, but subsituted the ground meat with Light Life "ground beef." I also skipped out the parsley, not by my choice, though! I didn't follow the sauce recipe exactly, I used my own herbs and seasonings. Oh, and I used the no-boil type of lasagna noodles...so much easier!

For all the work, which technically isn't a lot until you add a preschooler into the mix, it was pretty good. The child just picked at it; she preferred the salad's "crunchy things" (romaine ribs), cucumbers, and tomatoes. Husband said it was good, but didn't seem too impressed. *sigh*

For dessert, ice cream. Delicious, creamy, flavorful blueberry cheesecake ice cream. I saw this recipe on Cooking Light awhile ago and have been wanting to try it. I finally decided to do it. Another multi-step recipe whose steps are just prolonged with the preschooler helper. Honestly, I also added more steps because I thought it would be better. Firstly, I tempered the hot milk/half and half into the egg/sugar/cream cheese mixture. And then strained it. Glad I did both because when I strained, despite the tempering, there was a tiny bit of scrambled egg. Ew. Who wants that in ice cream!? This ice cream is very good, but not really *that* "light." I mean sure, compared to Haagan-Dazs, it is, but compared to the light ice cream I usually eat, it's not. Oh well. It was delicous. Husband liked it, but didn't rave (he wasn't in a good mood yesterday.) Daughter didn't like it...maybe because she's not a blueberry fan? Don't know. I used frozen berries instead of fresh because they're not in season.
This will be made again. Possibly with a different fruit. Strawberries, raspberries, peaches... so many possibilities!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sad Sack.

I've had this pattern for a long time. It's "Built by Wendy 3835." I've seen it all over blogs and flickr. It always looks so cute.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you want to see it), it does not come in a plus-sized pattern. There is a reason for that. Because, unless you are thin, you will look like a sack of potatoes.
I added a couple of inches to the pattern, I was wondering if I added too much. I don't think so, I just think it's a totally unflattering shirt for my figure. Oh, I also added a bit to the length, which I'm sure added to the "sack" style.
In hindsight, I shouldn't have made the elastic sleeves. I think that makes it look juvenile.
I'm so bummed about this pattern. It's so easy and quick. From cutting out the fabric to finishing the hem, it was just under two hours.
Another reason why it's a hideous shirt...the fabric. I like the fabric, but not for a shirt. I don't know what I was thinking...wait, I do know. It's the only fabric I had enough of to make the shirt. I'm glad it was thrifted fabric and not a fabric that I love.
After some searching last night, I realized that other plus-sized women have the same issue. Their resolution was either a belt (good idea, but I don't like belts) or to put some elastic or a drawstring under the bustline, good idea, but I have to be honest with myself, I will not wear this shirt because of the fabric.
I want to make this again. I will use a dark fabric, probably black. I will skip the elastic arms, and maybe the neck too... the cool thing about this pattern is that it's so versatile.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I decided to make the buttercup bag, that is sweeping crafty blogs. When I say "sweeping" I mean, written about by three of the blogs that I read.

I am amazing by people who can actually write a functional pattern. It is an extraordinary talent, and am even more amazed when they decide to share the pattern. For free! I find that in general, the crafty blogiverse is quite generous.

Anyhow, after a couple of failed attempts at making a gift for my mom, I decided upon the buttercup bag. I used an unused floral pillowcase and thrifted drapery fabric. It came out pretty cute, unfortunately, you will never know because I forgot to take a photo of it before I gave it to my mom.

Today, however, I whipped out another bag. And seriously, it's that easy that I can do it with a child asking me questions every 27.5 seconds. This bag is made from thrifted napkins and thrifted cotton fabric. I have been waiting for something to do with those napkins, and I finally found it. Happily, I only used one napkin too! Two more left...

For this particular bag, I skipped the pocket, because really, I see no purpose for it. I also used regular snaps, ya know, the kind you hammer in. I also lenghtend the strap. I think this bag could benefit from interfacing. (Oh, I also skipped the decorative buttons.)

Sadly, however, I will not use this bag because it's entirely too small for me. It would only hold my wallet & possibly my cellphone. I usually carry some books with me, wipes, tissues, lipgloss, and medicial items. And my camera, which would not fit in this bag. At all. I would love to make this make bigger because it's really pretty!

Would anyone like this bag? I mean, out of the 2 people who read this blog? Let me know...post a comment. :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Laugh.

Back when knitty first put this up, I think it was in December, I *knew* I was going to make them for my mom for her birthday(3/16). It took me awhile to find the 32 gauge wire. I finally found it at Michael's on Wednesday. (They must've done a reset because it wasn't there before.) ANYHOW...I started them as soon as the child was in bed. ACK! Pain in the butt. Even though the wire was the correct gauge, I think it was the incorrect type of wire because it just looked horrible. I was so frustrated, I just threw the wire out. Immature, I know, but it's better than throwing it across the room and then stomping on it, which is what I wanted to do.

So, now what? What to make for my mom? I remembered that I bought a set of vintage cloche hat patterns from etsy. The patterns are written kind of strangely, but after reading and re-reading, they're pretty easy. Or so it seems. I thought the seam allowance was including in the pattern. Nope. Oh well, I thought, it'll just be a test-hat and Abby can wear it. The pattern is quite vague, however, and doesn't go step-by-step on how to do things, unlike today's patterns. You'd think that wouldn't be a big deal since really, the pattern is only 6 pieces. Ha! Ha! I put the brim on upside down. And, to top it all off, the hat doesn't even fit Abby! I'm pretty sure the actual pattern pieces are incorrect...it's not the original pattern, it's drawn by the seller. *sigh* Live and learn. And laugh. How can you not laugh!?

Painting: Part Two.

My mother said to me, "If you become a soldier, you'll be a general; if you become a monk, you'll end up as the Pope." Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
~Pablo Picasso.

Picasso, I am not. I never will be, but I'm pretty sure that's the point of this quotation. Here are my paintings with my watercolor experimentation. I actually really enjoyed this. They're obviously not perfect, but not too bad considering I haven't seriously painted anything in oh, at least 10 years!

I wanted to paint more, but Abby was finished painting, and that meant I was too.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Painting: Part One.

Ever since watching this, I've been itching to paint, which is sort of weird since I haven't painted anything besides walls since college.

I have been fighting the urge to buy watercolors for a couple of reasons:
1. I don't really like water colors. I find the way they run annoying and the color saturation isn't strong enough for me. I'm more of an oil paint kind of girl.
2. Do I really need to spend more money of crafty things?

Rationalization of the two arguments:
1. You don't have your oil paints anymore (where'd they go, Dad?!), and watercolors are more preschooler-friendly.
3. Not really that expensive, at least not for the middle-of-the-road ones. Watercolor paper on sale for $1.50, water color set $4.99. SOLD!

OK, I'm getting ahead of myself. This blog is not about the watercolors, that's the "Part Two." Today is part one. My mom's birthday is coming up, and I prefer to give her handmade things, especially from Abby. We headed to Michael's in search of a terracotta pot and some paint. Got both, came home, and got to work. I had no intentions of painting my own pot, but couldn't resist the lure of the bold colors! I cleaned off a dirty terra cotta pot from my garage and got down to business.

True, I don't know when to say when, but oh well, it was fun!
(P.S. No picture of Abby's pot just in case Granma reads the blog!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sneak Preview!

On Sunday (and Saturday as well, but I'm not counting that since I was stuck in work from 9-5) we had glimpse of spring.

My parents have a big fenced in yard and within that garden, my grandfather has his own veggie garden. Abby helped Poppop turn soil to prep the ground for the fruits of summer: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, herbs, cantaloupes, etc.

The soil smelled wonderful; earthy and damp. A few sacrificial seeds (obviously, they're not going to sprout since it's still a bit chilly at night) were planted by overly anxious hands.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I really like the idea of reusing something old to make it something new. Besides all the environment hoopla, it's just a good use in imagination. I am instantly drawn to anything that shows ingenuity; probably because that is something that I lack!
I mean sure, anyone can think of painting a mayonnaise jar and plopping some flowers in it. Cute idea, but not exactly deft.
This idea, however, is really clever. And practical. Gotta love that combination.

I don't even remember how I stumbled upon this tutorial, but I was really glad I did. And at a perfect time too! Two of my good friends both have birthdays in February.

One Saturday after work, I stopped by Impact!, a huge thrift store a few shops down from my employer. The paperbacks are only .35 (insert "cent" symbol here.) I looked through the table of paperback (the hardbacks are in the shelves) and quickly spotted the words, "Charlie Brown." I picked it immediately and was thrilled to see an excellent condition Charlie Brown comic book. The original price was .40 (again, insert "cent" symbol here.) That one was for Amber.

Finding something for Heather would prove to be more difficult. I decided to just go for a tacky romance novel since that's what the majority of the books were.

(I also picked up some original kitchen appliance manuals for myself that I will eventually mat and frame for my kitchen.)

ANYHOW, I this project is super simple and I really like the results. I'm not going to mention the issues I had with installing the snaps because I'll come off sounding like a total idiot because, well, apparently, I am.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another Kimono.

My friend's daughter's birthday was on Saturday. I finally got a chance to give her the kimono (and matching pants) that I made.

The kimono pattern is so easy, and gets easier as you make them.
The pants were easy as well. (of course I can't find the pattern now.)

(Apologies for the poor photo...I almost forgot to take a picture; this was I was just about to wrap it.)